Friday, May 22, 2009

Hit List: The Best of Latino Mystery -- Sarah Cortez & Liz Martinez, Editors

Hit List is an entertaining anthology of stories by Latino authors.  Not all of them are mysteries, but all of them are crime stories of one kind or another.  The book begins with two short-shorts, Mario Acevedo's "Oh, Yeah" and Lucha Corpi's "Hollow Point at the Synapses."  Acevedo's is one with a twist, while Corpi's is from a unique point of view.  You'll have to read it yourself to find out what it is, since I don't want to spoil it for you.

Being familiar with the work of Steven Torres, I read his story first.  "Caring for Jose" features Luiz Gonzalo from Torres' Precinct Puerto Rico series.  Who would care if someone killed one of a small town's least desirable citizens?  Well, the sheriff would, because it's his job, but matter of defining justice and the law is sometimes more complicated that it might seem.  

I've enjoyed John Lantigua's novels, too, and his story of a Labor Day weekend party gone wrong presents Detective Sergeant Roberto Rivas with a complicated puzzle.  A celebration of a young man's reunion with his family is interrupted by a murder, and Rivas quickly discovers that there aren't any suspects.  So who killed the man?  Trust Rivas to find the answer.

A couple of stories with great titles are "The Skull of Pancho Villa" by Manuel Ramos and "In the Kitchen with Johnny Albino" by R. Navaez.  The stories manage to live up to the titles, with simple and direct justice being involved in both.

Rolando Hinojosa-Smith's name is well known in Texas literary circles.  His story is "Nice Climate, Miami," and it's about a hit man named O'Hara.  Terse, tense, and tough.

I could go on about the other stories, but I think I'll stop.  I enjoyed them all, and I think you might, too.  If you want a book filled with crime stories coming from a slightly different perspective from the one you're used to (or at least the one I'm used to), you can't go wrong with Hit List.

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